Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: November 23, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412959193 | Print ISBN: 9781412959186 | Online ISBN: 9781412959193| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Chamlin, Mitchell B., and John K. Cochran: Social Altruism and Crime
Andrew J. Myer
Mitchell B. Chamlin and John K. Cochran's (1997) social altruism theory departs from traditional macro-social theories in its explanation of crime rates in aggregates (e.g., communities, cities, states) in two ways. First, while most macro-social theories of crime focus on the structural aspects of society and their relationship to crime, social altruism theory focuses on the cultural aspect of society and its relationship to crime. The second point of departure occurs by changing the central theoretical question from “What causes communities to have high crime rates?” to “What causes communities to have low crime rates?” Drawing on the theoretical insights of John Braithwaite's reintegrative shaming theory, Steven Messner and Richard Rosenfeld's institutional-anomie theory, and Francis Cullen's social support theory, social altruism—defined as the willingness of communities to provide sparse resources, distinct from those provided by the state (e.g., welfare), toward the aid and benefit of its members—is predicted to vary ...